Zirinsky stepped down as president of CBS News in the spring, and reportedly had been in talks for a new production role. See It Now Studios, taking its name from the Edward R. Murrow newsmagazine of the 1950s, will produce news, documentary and unscripted programming for Paramount+ and CBS and other ViacomCBS brands, as well as third parties and in partnership with outside production companies. Its productions will be distributed globally by the ViacomCBS Global Distribution Group.
Zirinsky will report to George Cheeks, president and CEO of CBS and Chief Content Officer, News and Sports for Paramount+.
The production outfit’s first projects will be on the 20th anniversary of 9/11, with The 26th Street Garage: The FBI’s Untold Story of 9/11, debuting on Thursday on Paramount+. The Tom Selleck-narrated project tells the story of how, on 9/11, the FBI was forced to quickly evacuate its headquarters and locate in an auto garage as a command center.
Another project, Race Against Time: The CIA and 9/11, debuts at 8 PM on Friday on Paramount+ and CBS. It features interviews with former top leaders and intelligence officials and their first-person accounts of efforts to track and stop Osama bin Laden.
Other projects include Ghislaine, a four-part series for Paramount+, about Ghislaine Maxwell as she faces sex trafficking charges related to the Jeffrey Epstein scandal; and Unsealed: The Insurrection — Where Did It Begin?, a six-part Paramount+ series in partnership with XG Productions, which focuses on the origins of the January 6 Capitol siege. The studio also will create spinoffs of CBS News brands, and produce what are described as “insta-docs,” quick-turnaround projects connected to current events. Those will be in collaboration with Neeraj Khemlani and Wendy McMahon, who became presidents and co-heads of CBS News and Stations, combined into one unit after Zirinsky’s departure.
Zirinsky will be joined in the unit by Terence Wrong, who will be senior executive producer of content oversight; Aysu Saliba, supervising producer, development; Grace Kim as production manager, and Amy Gardner as associate producer. Also contributing will be executive producer Mitch Weitzner and his team, Sasha Reuther and Danielle Levy.
In a statement, Cheeks said that the studio “will have the flexibility to work across a range of production formats and concepts to meet the growing needs of linear and streaming platforms, including producing premium documentary content for Paramount+.”
Zirinsky said, “We’ve got a slate of powerful projects that use immersive storytelling to illuminate people and places that rarely grant access. These are strong, story-driven projects, with engaging narratives and compelling characters that will keep viewers watching. All told through with the high-quality standards set by CBS News.”